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In Conversation

Adam Bellow with Finn Harvor

Publishing: historically unprecedented changes. The changes are felt throughout the industry, from the micro press, to the conglomerate.

Portrait of the Dominican Nerd as an (Overweight) Young Man

Not a memoir, not particularly self-consciously postmodern or ironic: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is the story of Oscar “Wao” de León, an overweight, socially inept fan of science fiction and fantasy who dreams of becoming the “Dominican Tolkien.”

Do Spring Showers Disclose Flowers?

I haven’t inquired recently into whether there have been new developments in the court masque, but a case can be made that no art form today is more conservative in its general formal tendencies than fiction writing. More demanding to consume than more passively experienced visual or aural art forms, and for the most part mass-produced by subsidiaries of entertainment conglomerates who more and more insist on bottom-line profits, so much fiction today is so plainly moribund that the “truth is more interesting” camp now has adherents even among creative writers themselves.

NONFICTION: Why Everyone Talks About Ulrike Meinhof

“Complicated” is the word I kept coming back to as I was trying to write this review of Everybody Talks About the Weather…We Don’t: The Writings of Ulrike Meinhof.

FICTION: The Storyteller

It sometimes seems as though Paul Auster is trying to single-handedly keep the literary tradition of mise en abyme alive. His latest novel, Man in the Dark, offers readers another story within a story about a writer’s dependence on his own creations, and his subjection to their whims and fancies.

NONFICTION: Raising Poetry

The problem with poetry these days isn’t the literary magazines run by pharmaceutical industry businessmen, or the grants granted by pharmaceutical industry heiresses, or even the grant-granting bodies composed of pharmo-conservo-politicos (and heiresses). And it’s not all the writing about writing, either, or even the writing about the writing about the writing (which, okay, can get annoying).

NONFICTION: Armchair General

How you respond to Gary Brecher’s War Nerd will largely depend on how readily you accept or reject his persona: a data entry clerk who lives in Fresno, “drinks too much Diet Coke,” and surfs war news.

POETRY: Finding A Better Use

There’s no denying that American poetry in the last few years (with exceptions) has been extremely, one-sidedly intellectual. New technical devices are used and played with in ways that are often ingenious, but most times lacking in passion. So it comes as a pleasant surprise when a book such as Wanda Phipps’ Field of Wanting appears...


Greg Bottoms is not one to find solace or seek truth in the past. His memory knows no transcendence, no nostalgia, and the whole act feels more like a curse to struggle against.

Poetry Roundup

Jack Hirschman, Emily Warn, Jack Micheline

Prose Roundup

Haruki Murakami, Hannah Tinti, Robert Goolrick, Tao Lin, Harold Jaffe, Amanda Petrusich, Stephanie Kuehnert, Sarah Shun-lien Bunum


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2008

All Issues